During the pandemic, many people took on home improvement projects while stuck inside. Now, some of those DIY skills might be coming in handy.
In general, renovations are taking 259 percent longer than they did in 2019, up from 22 days then to 79 days now, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Along with that, the costs of labor and materials have risen, and high demand has led to long wait times for construction to even start. As such, some go-getters have decided to take on the work themselves—to varying degrees of success.
“I think that going into this, we had the perception that we were very good DIYers,” Evan Moody told the WSJ. He and his partner Autumn Farr bought a second home in the Catskills in the summer of 2021. Two years later, the work on the house isn’t even finished, after the couple had difficulties finding skilled laborers to do the work and were unable to complete it themselves.
Last year, spending on home improvements and repairs reached a record $567 billion, up 15 percent from 2021, which itself saw an 11 percent increase from 2020. Typically, growth averages about just five percent, said Abbe Will, a researcher at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Spending on DIY projects in particular has also seen massive growth: From 2019 to 2021, it increased 44 percent, to $66 billion, according to a recent Harvard report.
Still, despite all the money being thrown around, many renos aren’t actually being completed. Baxter Townsend and David Zlotnick bought an older Manhattan apartment, thinking it would be more cost-effective to renovate it than buy a newer build. Initially, they were quoted work that would take 15 weeks and about $100,000. After sinking a whole year into the project—along with $250,000—the two gave up and stopped working with the design firm they had hired.
“We’re like, ‘Pack up and get out. It’s been a year. Please leave,’” Zlotnick told the WSJ.
Now the two are living in a half-finished apartment, waiting until they can find a new firm to finish the job that should have been done a long time ago.
Perhaps a new build is your safest bet.